Dover – Calais: our first ferry trip

I’m sure I have been on a ferry before as a child but never as an adult and certainly not with the added responsibility of bringing a dog.

Now that the van is converted into a camper, it seemed only right that we take it on its maiden voyage to the continent and so we booked a ten day France/Belgium road trip with Kubo along for the ride!

He seemed wholly unfazed at being woken up at 2:30am after having only been asleep for a couple of hours. He wagged his way to the passenger seat and promptly fell asleep for the duration of the drive despite me trying to keep him awake so he’d sleep on the ferry.

We sailed with DFDS Seaways and despite our nerves, found the experience easy and pleasant.

Upon check in we were told that we would be able to arrange to visit our dog mid-journey with a chaperone which was such a pleasant surprise. Everything I had read said you couldn’t return to your vehicle. The lady also gave us a dog biscuit – top marks from Kubo!

We were in a specific queue for vehicles with animals on board and I frantically scoured the internet whilst waiting to establish how to turn our vehicle alarm off. We hadn’t even considered doing this but thankfully I read the animal safety leaflet I was given at check-in. Once parked up, we left the windows and skylight ajar to circulate the air whilst Kubo settled down for the journey in his crate with a tasty beef tail and bowl of water.

We originally decided that we wouldn’t go to see him during the crossing so as not to disturb him but when we were waving goodbye to the white cliffs of Dover to the sound of car alarms we decided that maybe we should. The noise downstairs must have been so scary for him with all these alarms blaring and droning engine noises. As it happened, by the time we had finished drinking tea we were rapidly approaching Calais so he coped for another 10 minutes alone.

He was super happy to see us but honestly looked like he had done a fair bit of sleeping. What a relief!

One thing I have learnt is to stop at more services on the way to Dover! We only managed to stop in a layby before the port where he refused to go to the toilet and there is no exercise area or easy place to let the dog out that we could find. Poor Kubo had to wait until we found a layby services to relieve his bladder in France.

Overall the ferry experience was a pleasant one. The staff were all very nice and I felt that animals were considered.